Entrepreneur Kevin Rose recently announced that he would be shutting down Oink, one of the first projects to emerge from his new company Milk. Oink was a “rate everything” app where users could rate specific items and experiences, rather than just the venue. For example, users might rate the food at a restaurant instead of the restaurant itself.
Oink was designed to be a “decision engine” that eased choices for users out and about, with frequent users gaining reputation points. So it wasn’t just another check-in app like Foursquare, nor was it aiming to fully compete with review sites like Yelp. One might describe it as a hybrid of the two models. However, five months after Oink’s November 2011 launch, Rose has decided Milk should focus its resources elsewhere.
When Oink first debuted, over 100,000 people downloaded the app within two and a half weeks, likely aided by Rose’s strong brand recognition. By December 2011 it reportedly had over 150,000 users. However, Oink apparently struggled to gain real traction against established apps like Foursquare and Yelp.
While some may lament Oink’s loss, most are praising Rose and his team for quickly recognizing the need to pivot to new ideas with Milk’s $1.5 million in funding from Google Ventures. Quick iteration is core to Milk’s philosophy. Oink served as a test, and though it failed, Rose can apply lessons learned to Milk’s next experiment.
Oink will officially close March 31, 2012. Until then, users can download their ratings, photos and other data by entering their username or email address. Details on Milk’s next project are unknown, but with a commitment to rapid building and testing, new “experiments” will likely emerge soon. However, users probably shouldn’t get too attached until Milk finds an idea worth pursuing further.